The Seattle Kraken expected a pushback from the Dallas Stars last night. The Stars weren’t about to throw in the towel after a 7-2 drubbing on Sunday night, but the Kraken weren’t able to generate enough offense to counteract a Dallas attack as the Stars posted a 6-3 victory last night at Climate Pledge Arena.
The Stars deadlocked the Western Division semifinal at 2-2 with Game 5 taking place tomorrow night at Dallas’ American Airlanes Arena. Game 6 of the series takes place Saturday in Seattle. Dallas recorded four goals in the second period matching a total the Kraken have reached twice in the series, eclipsing that with five goals in Game 3.
“We were a step behind in terms of getting there offensively forecheck-wise, and on the flip side, defensively, we were late getting there,” said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol.
Max Domi, a midseason trade acquisition, led the Stars with two goals and an assist. Roope Hintz and Thomas Harley each had a goal and an assist. Defenseman Miro Heiskenan only had one assist, but he played 31 minutes after missing most of Game 3 after being hit in the face with a puck. Heiskenan, who has played well all season against the Kraken, was instrumental in getting the puck out of his defensive zone as Dallas finally had some success against Seattle’s diligent forechecking.
Dallas needed a good game from goalie Jake Oettinger. After being the Stars’ top player in their opening-round series win against Minnesota, Oettinger has had a spotty series so far against Seattle, sometimes good and bad in the same game. He did his part last night stopping 17 of 19 shots, but Seattle helped out with Adam Larsson and Jaden Schwartz both shooting wide of an open net. Both eventually scored in the game – Schwartz had two goals and Larsson became the 17th Kraken to score in the playoffs with his third period marker.
“(Dallas is) a good team, it’s been a back-and-forth series” said Schwartz. “Both teams knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We’re a confident group. We know what our game looks like. We’ve bounced back. We just need to rest, recover and get our minds right. Get ready to go again.”
Stars’ captain Jamie Benn opened the scoring in the first period when he beat Philipp Grubauer top shelf, about a 20-footer with two Kraken defenders possibly screening Grubauer. Harley made it 2-0 at 4:46 of the second period off a nice cross from Domi, who five minutes later scored the most controversial goal of the series.
With Dallas pressuring in their offensive zone, Benn appeared to bump Grubauer not once but twice, the second time seconds before Domi’s shot went past the Kraken goalie into the net. The Kraken have successfully won the last three video review challenges they’ve made on goals and the sellout crowd at Climate Pledge expected the same when contact between Benn and Grubauer was shown on the scoreboard. But referees Kelly Sutherland and Trevor Hanson seemed to take an eternity looking at the replay, and then finally ruled the goal would count. As Hakstol noted after a recent successful challenge, the Kraken are usually sure of an overrule when they challenge, but you can never be 100% sure.
“I just felt like Grubi got blown out of the crease,” Hakstol said. “And regardless of the amount of time in between, to be able to reset was impossible because he got blown too far out of the crease on that play. In my opinion there was really something wrong there, and that’s the way I evaluate it. I don’t look for something that’s close or splitting hairs on it. I felt like Grubi did not have a chance to do his job on that play.”
Or as forward Jared McCann succinctly stated in the Kraken locker room, “I guess I don’t know what the hell goalie interference is anymore.”
The main reason teams won’t challenge unless they’re fairly confident the goal will be overturned- an unsuccessful challenge leads to a two-minute delay of game penalty. Sure enough, Joe Pavelski scored his sixth goal of the series – he had four goals in a game one loss- off a pass from Jason Robertson after Heiskenan’s shot.
The Kraken showed their resiliency when Schwartz scored from in close 56 seconds later off a pass from Justin Schultz. But Hintz would score in the final minute of the period to send the Stars to the intermission with a 5-1 lead.
In Game 3, Dallas rested Oettinger and inserted backup goalie Scott Wedgewood into the game. Last night, Martin Jones made his first playoff appearance in the Kraken , but was only called upon to make two saves.
Meanwhile the Kraken scored twice. Schwartz scored his second goal, and Larsson added the final Kraken goal on a drive from the point off a pass from his defensive partner Vince Dunn. With four minutes remaining, Seattle pulled Jones for an extra attacker. The Kraken sustained some pressure, but Domi would break away for an empty net goal to ice the victory.
“We didn’t get to our game until the third period,” Schwartz said. “They had a higher desperation to start the game, executed better, were the more desperate team, and we were on our heels and weren’t able to get much going.”
The Kraken hope to get off to a better start in Game 5 tomorrow in Dallas.
- Forward Jared McCann, who led the Kraken with 40 goals in the regular season, returned to the lineup last night his first appearance since a late hit from Colorado’s Cole Makar in Game 4 of the Kraken-Avalanche series. On the hit, McCann banged his head on the boards and the ice. He’s been practicing since Saturday and his insertion into the lineup was a game-time decision. McCann’s return was almost a memorable one- he had Seattle’s first shot, a blistering drive from the slot- that was kicked out by Oettinger. McCann played 13:11 and had three shots and one penalty. “The first couple of shifts were tough, but towards the end I felt really good,” said McCann after the game.
- The NHL has announced that Saturday’s game at Climate Pledge Arena will start 4 PM local time.
- In non-Kraken NHL news Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes, Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Alex Stalock of the Chicago Blackhawks were named finalists for the Bill Masterton Trophy on Tuesday. The award, voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is presented annually to the NHL player voted to best exemplify the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. The winner will be announced as part of the 2023 NHL Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on June 26. Keller suffered a fractured furmer on March 20, 2022 but returned for the 2022-2023 season to become the Coyotes’ leading scorer. Letang, a longtime All-Star defenseman suffered the second stroke of his career on Nov. 28 but returned to the lineup 12 days later. Stalock played only two games in two seasons after being diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle in 2020. He was cleared to play this past season, manning the Blackhawks net in 25 games and recording two shutouts. Speaking of the ‘Hawks, Chicago won the lottery to pick first in the upcoming amateur draft. Connor Bedard, who starred on the Canadien World Junior team is the consensus number-one pick. His great-great uncle, James Bedard, played for the Hawks, 1949-51. Anaheim will draft second and Columbus third.
D- Jamie Benn (Roope Hintz, Miro Heiskenan) PPG 17:13.
|D- Thomas Harley (Max Domi, Joel Kirivanta) 4:46.D- Domi (Joel Hanley, Thomas Harley) 9:25.D- Joe Pavelski (Jason Robertson, Heiskenan) PPG 10:50. S- Jaden Schwartz (Justin Schultz, Morgan Geekie) 11:46 D- Hintz (Benn) 19:07.|
S- Schwartz (Oliver Bjorkstrand, Dunn) 3:24. S- Adam Larsson (Dunn, Matty Beniers) 15:49. D- Domi (Evgenii Dadanov, Esa Lindell) EN 17:29.
Shots on Goal- Dallas 25, Seattle 19.
Penalty Minutes- Dallas 12, Seattle 14.
Referees- Kelly Sutherland, Trevor Hanson. Linesmen- David Brisebois, Bevan Mills. Standby Official- Kendrick Nicholson.
Three Stars- 1. Jaden Schwartz, S. 2. Thomas Harley, D. 3. Max Domi, D.